54 THE QUEENS COURIER • KIDS & EDUCATION • JUNE 28, 2018 FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT WWW.QNS.COM
kids & education
Photo courtesy of Kathleen Izzo
Kathleen Izzo and her student Saranika Chakraborty, whose award-winning art has gained positive attention.
Young Elmhurst artists get the attention of major museums
BY JENNA BAGCAL
firstname.lastname@example.org / @jenna_bagcal
Children at an Elmhurst elementary
school are excelling in art, and they’re
getting the attention of some of New
York City’s finest museums.
For years, fourth- and fifth-graders
from the 51st Avenue Academy at 76-05
51st Ave. have produced award-winning
works of art, and this year was no different.
Kathleen Izzo, an art teacher at the
public school, has praised the work that
her students and others have created.
During the 2017-2018 school year, students
from the 51st Avenue Academy
were chosen to display their works
in establishments across the city and
beyond. Some of the institutions
where their art can be found include
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The
911 Memorial Museum, The Queens
Museum, Sotheby’s Auction House in
New York City, The Asia Society, The
Muskegon Museum of Art, The Rock, The
Citywide Council on Special Education
and The Lever House.
Izzo said that the students’ art can also
be found in online exhibitions.
Students at The Academy have also
won awards in multiple art contests.
In March 2018, Saranika Chakraborty
won first place in the Missing Children’s
Poster Contest. The fifth-grader won a
$100 gift card in the statewide competition
for her poster that brought awareness
to the missing children in the United
Chakraborty’s poster depicts a crying
boy who is shown drawing a picture of
his family. Next to the boy is a small picture
of a family superimposed over a
heart with the words “family is forever”
In May, Chakraborty teamed up with
fellow student Samiha Amhed to become
one of 10 finalists in the Disability Pride
Visual Art Contest. The citywide contest
was opened to all DOE students from
kindergarten through 12th grade.
Other students who won awards during
the current school year include Yoselyn
Xique, who was the winner of the 2018
Queens Borough Arts Festival in May.
Most recently, Sherry Wang and Anna
Zheng, were the winners the P.S. Art
Semi-Finals this month.
Izzo added that the school was able to
get a 9-foot by 12-foot quilt and 26-minute
DVD that honored those who died in
9/11 added to the permanent collection
of the National September 11 Memorial
& Museum in Manhattan.
“It took 11 years from the quilt’s inception
to get it into the very ground where
this atrocity took place. Two months after
the quilt and movie became permanent
artifacts of the museum it was sent to be
displayed at the Muskegon Museum of
Art in Chicago,” Izzo said.
In addition to accomplishments in the
arts, the Elmhurst school’s drama team
had the opportunity to perform at the
Colten Auditorium at Queens College
and their chess club won first place in the
K-5 Chess in the Schools Tournament.
76-year-old graduate from Ozone Park walks the stage after earning her bachelor’s degree
BY EMILY DAVENPORT
email@example.com / @QNS
A senior woman from Ozone Park
recently walked across the stage to receive
her bachelor’s degree, ending a journey
that was 76 years in the making.
Born in Williston, South Carolina,
Bettye Lee, 76, was raised by her grandmother.
She moved to New York after
high school, where she met her husband
of 56 years, Melvin Lee Jr., and had four
children. Lee and her husband also have
eight grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
As she was raising her family, Lee postponed
getting her bachelor’s degree.
However, over the years education has
been a part of her life. For 21 years, Lee
worked for the New York City Board
of Education in food service, retiring in
2007. During that time, Lee taught adult
Sunday school classes and also earned a
certificate in Ministry from the New York
After getting encouragement from her
children, Lee enrolled in the College of New
Rochelle’s (CNR) School of New Resources
Brooklyn Campus at the age of 72.
“After I retired, we planned to relocate
to Florida, but my husband became ill, so
we decided to stay,” Lee said. “You know,
sometimes we make our own plans, but
God knows better.”
This past May, Lee walked across the
Beacon Theatre stage at CNR’s 111th
commencement to receive her diploma.
During the ceremony, Lee was among
several graduates recognized by Dr.
William Latimer, president of CNR, for
their outstanding stories.
“I just can’t stop thinking about that
day,” Lee said. “I’ll never forget walking
across that stage.”
Lee thanked her faculty, staff and fellow
classmates for inspiring her and her family
for their support and patience while
she was in school. Lee plans to use her
degree to encourage her grandchildren to
“I’m going to look back at this experience
and wait to see what God has ahead
for me,” Lee said. “I can do all things
through Christ, which strengthens me.” Photo courtesy of The College of New Rochelle